European Book Publishing Statistics 2015

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) represents 28 national associations of publishers from the European Union and the European Economic Area Member States. The present survey is based on reports from the national book publishing associations, and on further analysis and refining of data, for the year 2015.

Figures on the overall economic significance of the publishing industry refer to net publishers’ turnover, i.e. the publishers’ total revenues from the sales of books, not the total market for books (margin of booksellers or other retailers). They also do not account for revenues in terms of selling rights for translation, audiovisual adaptation, etc. In some cases, only data on market value was available; in such cases, average discount rates were applied to calculate an approximation of net turnover. Figures were rounded conservatively.

The total annual sales revenue of book publishers of the EU and the EEA in 2015 was approximately € 22.3 billion, according to the survey conducted by FEP. This represents a small increase from the last estimate of € 22 billion for 2014, the result of a mixed picture, with several markets recording a lower turnover than the previous year, but also a number of others confirming previous positive trends or reverting downwards tendencies. It is also to be noted that exchange rate effects contributed significantly to the positive result. The largest markets in terms of publishers’ turnover in 2015 were Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy. Total market value is estimated at 36-38 billion €.

A total of about 575,000 new titles were issued by publishers in 2015. The figure was taken from different sources, some of which included new editions or non-commercial titles, and was accordingly rounded conservatively. There was therefore a significant increase in the title output from the previous survey. European publishers held a total of about 22 million different titles in stock (of which more than 4 million in digital format), the countries reporting the largest availability being the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain; this figure, ever-increasing, has been spiked by the surge in digital publishing (in different formats), the digitisation of back catalogues, the growth of print-on-demand services and the surge in self-published titles (mainly in the UK). The countries reporting the largest new titles output were the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
A total of approximately 125,000 people were employed full time in book publishing in 2015, basically the same level as one year earlier. However, this is an area where it is difficult to gather reliable data. The entire book value chain (including authors, booksellers, printers, designers, etc.) is estimated to employ more than half a million people.

Looking at longer term trends, up to 2007 there was a clear growth trend both in terms of turnover and of titles output. In 2008 title production kept growing whilst turnover, adjusting for exchange rates effects, experienced a flat year. 2009 showed a slight decrease in turnover (accounting for exchange rate effects) and a slowdown of title growth. The crisis had less of an impact on publishing when compared to most other sectors (and within the sector, a stronger impact on exports). In 2010, the trend was reverted and growth resumed (especially exports), although favoured by exchange rates. In 2011 and 2012, the market went down, independently of exchange rates, and title production growth was sluggish; the e-book market grew rapidly and exports were strong. In 2013 and 2014 the market slowed down again, with the most notable trends being the continuous growth of the e-book market and the good performance of exports (weaker in 2013 mainly due to a stronger Euro). Exports remained strong in 2015, contributing to an increase in revenues (also due to exchange rates), while the e-book market (now around 5-6% of the total) showed signs of stagnation.

For further information: Enrico Turrin, +32 2 770 11 10 -

European Book Publishing Statistics 2015